July was a great month for me (but not from a work perspective).  I took most of the month off to spend some time with my family, which is why I’ve been quiet since my first post.  For those of you who are interested, we spent 8 days rafting the Grand Canyon with Grand Canyon Expeditions.  It was an incredible time.  If you like outdoors and don’t mind roughing it (sleeping w/out a tent on the sand, a few bugs, scorpions, that type of thing…) then this is a fantastic trip. 


Before I left I did an interview w/ Darryl Taft of eWeek about the Team System, our design goals, and how we expect to compete in the marketplace.  I think it turned out pretty good, except that when I read a verbatim of what I say, I realize I ramble a bit…  Anyway, you can find that interview and another one that Daryl did w/ Grady Booch of UML fame now w/ IBM here.  I think they capture the essence of where each of the companies is fairly well.  I did find it interesting that Grady spent much of his time talking about Team System and why we weren’t going to be successful and not a lot of time talking about what they were doing to drive significant customer value.


It’s also great to be back in the office and see the progress the team has made over the past month!  I’m excited to say that today we signed off on the the last few issues and started the release process for the next Community Technology Preview.  You should be able to get the bits off of MSDN later this week.  DVDs are being burned as well and you’ll be able to get them at VSLive Orlando next month.  This will be a big CTP because it will include the Team Foundation server installation (which I know many of you are very anxiously awaiting).  It will also be based on the Whidbey Beta 1 bits so you will finally have a matched set of Beta 1 compilers/editors/frameworks, and the Team System all in 1 place.  Because it’s based on the Beta 1 bits, the official title of the release will be “Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 refresh with the Team System”. 


It’s important to note that not all Team System bits are beta quality yet, but they should be much better than they were in May.  Our bar for the release was to make sure that folks could get going on evaluating the server side bits and having a better client side experience.  The server scale/performance isn’t there yet, nor is all the features or quality, but it’s certainly enough to use to get a sense of trajectory and where we are headed. 


One way of ensuring we hit that bar was to set a goal of dogfooding (internal usage) the server bits before we released this CTP.  We’ve been doing that for about a month and we’ve been pretty pleased with the experience.  While we certainly don’t encourage any of you to try and use these bits in a production environment yet, we’ve already learned a lot from doing so and the product is better now, and will continue to get better as we put more of our teams onto the server.  Within the next few months we should be at about 250 people on our Team Foundation server.  I’ll ask Brian Harry to post some more detailed dogfood usage statistics in his blog soon.


So, get your hands on those bits ASAP, get them installed, and let us know how it’s going.